Bo, Hong and Ling Zhang at Whitespace

Even though the Zhang sisters grew up in Northeast China during the time of the Cultural Revolution when things like basic necessities were sometimes scarce, their memories are of a happy childhood raised by parents who were Fine Arts Professors from the Lu Xu Academy of Fine Arts in Shenyang. Now all three sisters are practicing artists with advanced degrees in Fine Arts. Ling Zhang received an M.F.A. from the Central Institute of Nationalities in Beijing and has now settled in Atlanta, Georgia as a professional artist. Hong received an M.F.A from University of California and currently lives and works as a professional artist in Lawrence, Kansas. Bo received her M.F.A. from Georgia State University in Atlanta and currently lives in Beijing and as art director of Onemoon Gallery while teaching part-time at Beijing Central Academy of Fine Arts. Although each sister expresses herself through diverse artistic medium, “all three artists have responded to the dynamics of contemporary Chinese and global history” using a common theme of duality throughout their works.

With influences from the Tibetan Autonomous Region and Buddhist ideals, Ling Zhang’s works are rich in color conveyed through mediums such as ink, pencil, charcoal and watercolor on paper, as well as, oil on canvas. She explores many themes in her works such as spirituality and introspection, dreams versus reality and the complexity of human emotion. In a drawing Ling created in 2003 based on an outdoor installation by Hong Zhang, the sense of duality in nature and culture is beautifully symbolized by tree branches growing from a desk.

In Bo Zhang’s works, she utilizes printmaking techniques such as etching, lithograph and photo-transfer to express “a cultural mix of traditional and modern contradictions in contemporary China”. She combines treasured objects with that of everyday items and through her imagery explores opposing ideas such as clean and dirty, in and out, high and low. For example, in one image, she sets precious hand-painted china atop a PVC pipe from a sink leaving the feeling of tension and unease.

Hong Zhang is trained in traditional Chinese painting and utilizes her techniques to explore personal identity and culture. Since 2002, Hong has been using hair as a metaphor to reflect her personal life, she creates drawings of hair appearing in unexpected configurations. Hong states; “To me, long hair not only looks beautiful, but sometimes it can be very unattractive in particular settings. I combine hair and everyday objects to evoke different feelings and emotions through a surrealistic approach.”

Through April 3.

Whitespace Gallery
814 Edgewood Avenue in Inman Park
Atlanta, Ga.

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